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Each Tuesday, WhatIfSports.com's NFL simulation engine will provide you with predictions, box scores and statistics for every NFL game that week. The NFL simulation engine generates detailed information including the home team's chances of winning (Home Win %), average score and comprehensive box score link. If you want to share your new found NFL knowledge with friends and family, make sure to check out our NFL Widgets on the WhatIf To Go page or click on the social networking share bar located at the top and bottom of the article.
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Game of the Week: Packers at Bears
In 2010, the Packers and Bears fought three times, meeting in the playoffs for the first time since 1941. After splitting the two regular season tilts, the NFC Championship Game served as Round 3 between these bitter rivals. While the Packers would escape with a 21-14 victory on their way to becoming Super Bowl champs, the enduring image from this contest was Chicago starting quarterback Jay Cutler relegated to the sidelines due to a knee injury. Though it was later revealed Cutler had suffered a MCL sprain, the much-criticized QB was ripped by fellow NFLers for failing to return to the game.
While Cutler was lambasted for his performance, or lack thereof, in his team's final game last season, it's nothing compared to the beating he's taken from opposing defenses in the opening weeks. Already one of the weaker units in the league, center and perennial Pro Bowler Olin Kreutz's departure to New Orleans has left a noticeable void in Chicago's offensive line. This weakness has manifested itself into a league-high 11 sacks through two games. If Chicago intends on making postseason plans, this frailty will need to be alleviated in a hurry.
Unfortunately for Chicago, the Packers can't commiserate with the Bears' woes. Despite having questions surrounding the depth of their o-line in the offseason, Green Bay has surrendered a conference-low in sacks (three) while giving Aaron Rodgers and the Packer aerial assault enough time to toss for five touchdowns and hold a 126.4 QB rating (best in the NFC). The protection has additionally been successful in the ground game, paving the way for James Starks and Ryan Grant to find the end zone three times with a combined 4.7 yards per carry.
Not that Green Bay is without their deficiencies. The Packers have yet to find a suitable replacement for Cullen Jenkins, and an already volatile secondary just lost the services of veteran Nick Collins for the season. And although it could be chalked up to the merit of their competition, the Packers' defense is last in the NFL against the pass, conceding 800 yards in their first two games.
Rodgers and Cutler may be two of the more recognizable figures in the NFL, but the keys to this matchup lie in the backfield. Despite racking up a modest 117 yards on the ground, Matt Forte has been an animal in Chicago's passing scheme, posting 15 receptions for 207 yards and a touchdown. With the porous line of Chicago equating to numerous hurries for Cutler, look for this trend to continue. Meanwhile, Starks is quickly rising up the running back ranks, owning a ridiculous 6.8 yards-per-carry figure in the early going. If Starks continues this offensive onslaught, expect Ryan Grant to be slowly phased-out of the Packer rushing game.
So who wins this encounter of NFC juggernauts? According to the WhatIfSports' award-winning simulation engine, the Packers win the game 55.2 percent of the time by an average score of 19-18. For the rest of this week's predictions, check below:
Due to numerous injuries and depth chart changes, we re-simulated all 16 Week 3 contests on September 23rd.
NFL Week 3
|Kansas City Chiefs||12.7||17||Boxscore|
|@ San Diego Chargers||87.3||31||Simulate Game|
|@ Tennessee Titans||66.0||24||Simulate Game|
|@ New Orleans Saints||62.5||26||Simulate Game|
|New York Giants||38.1||19||Boxscore|
|@ Philadelphia Eagles||61.9||24||Simulate Game|
|@ Carolina Panthers||61.8||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Dallas Cowboys||50.7||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Cleveland Browns||48.0||18||Simulate Game|
|@ Seattle Seahawks||45.2||22||Simulate Game|
|Green Bay Packers||55.2||19||Boxscore|
|@ Chicago Bears||44.8||18||Simulate Game|
|@ Minnesota Vikings||34.5||17||Simulate Game|
|@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||34.8||19||Simulate Game|
|@ St. Louis Rams||33.0||16||Simulate Game|
|San Francisco 49ers||67.3||21||Boxscore|
|@ Cincinnati Bengals||32.7||16||Simulate Game|
|New York Jets||71.9||25||Boxscore|
|@ Oakland Raiders||28.1||17||Simulate Game|
|New England Patriots||80.8||25||Boxscore|
|@ Buffalo Bills||19.2||16||Simulate Game|
|@ Indianapolis Colts||13.4||14||Simulate Game|
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